Born: July 27, 1944 Primary Instrument: Sax, alto
Carl Grubbs alto, soprano and tenor saxophonist, is a native of Philadelphia, PA. He received early training from John Coltrane, who was married to his cousin, Naima. Through his family he was close to many of the history-making musicians of the 1950’s and 60’s. He was a guest soloist at the Philadelphia performance of Reggie Workman’s current project African Brass, a tribute to John Coltrane. Carl’s career can best be described as one of diversity; composer, performer, teacher, leader, recording artist and presenter. With his late brother, Earl Grubbs he formed the Visitors, a quintet that recorded for Muse record label in the early 1970’s. Carl is a former member of the Julius Hemphill Saxophone Sextet; this group toured the United States and Europe performing two productions; Hemphill’s Long Tongues: A Saxophone Opera and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Production, Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin: The Promised Land.
Carl Grubbs & Friends performs in major cities in the US; they have also been invited to perform in the cities of Bogota and Medellin, Colombia, S.A. Most recently the group completed a successful eight-city tour of Brazil. On his tours he provides Jazz improvisation workshops to students and professionals.
Currently Carl is Artist in Residence at St. Paul School in Brooklandville, Md. He is an adjudicator for the Maryland State Scholarship program. He has conducted workshops in jazz improvisation in Baltimore City Public Schools under the sponsorship of The Eubie Blake Jazz and Cultural Arts Center. Since 1997 he has served as the Director of SAX: Summer Music & Dance Camp, a camp he founded with his wife Barbara. The two-week camp is held on the campus of Loyola College in Maryland. It provides music and dance education to youth ages 4 - 17 in the Govans community and Baltimore City.
In recognition of his musical accomplishments, Carl was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Grant (1983 and 1985). In 2003 his CD Stepping Around the Giant was voted Best of Baltimore CD. In 2004 he was awarded the MSAC Traditions grant as a jazz master, working with his apprentice David Lowe, bassist to pass on the traditions of the jazz art form.
Carl’s recent recordings have been produced on his own label, B&C Productions, Inc.; these include Carl’s latest CD project, Reflections (2003) Carl Grubbs & Friends: Live at The New Haven Lounge (1993) and Carl Grubbs & Friends: Live at the BMA(1994). Live at the BMA received great reviews in Jazz Times and Downbeat. In January 2003 Stepping Around The Giant was released on CIMP label. The Odean Pope Trio CD,Two Dreams (2004) features Carl Grubbs. Carl’s latest recording on CIMP is scheduled for release in February 2006.